May 26, 2019

Papon Sings for Netflix Movie ‘Music Teacher’

Angaraag Papon Mahanta recently sang three songs for the movie ‘Music Teacher’, which has been written and directed by Sarthak Dasgupta for Netflix. The movie was released on Netflix's official site. 

The film stars popular artistes like Manav Kaul, Amrita Bagchi, Divya Dutta and Neena Gupta, and the music for the film has been composed by Rochak Kohli. The film includes two evergreen songs titled ‘Phir Wahi Raat’ and ‘Rimjhim Gire Sawan’. Among these, the song ‘Phir Wahi Raat’ has been rendered by Papon and ‘Rimjhim Gire Sawan’ has been sung by Papon along with Shreya Ghoshal. 

The two songs were originally composed by renowned music director R. D. Barman and rendered by legendary singer, actor and music director Kishore Kumar.

Papon has lent his voice to many commercially hit Bollywood movies such as ‘Dum Maaro Dum’, ‘Barfi’, ‘Sui Dhaaga’, ‘Sanju’, ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, ‘III Smoking Barrels’, etc.

Prantik Deka

May 25, 2019

‘Manush Khuje Berai’ : Rupam Bhuyan’s New Bangla Album

Popular Assamese singer Rupam Bhuyan’s new Bangla album – ‘Manush Khuje Berai’, was released  by eminent Odissi dancer and social activist Alokananda Roy and noted journalist Syed Zarir Hussain in the Rongali Bihu celebrations held at the Madhusudhan Manch, Kolkata, recently. 

An artiste of exceptional ability, with a beautiful tone, a fine technique and musical feeling, Rupam Bhuyan’s new album contains eight melodious songs, and are now available across all music platforms. The songs were written by Barun Thakur and composed by Tapan Dey, while the musical arrangement was done by Nirmalya Humtoo Dey, mixing and mastering by Kaushik Sen and video direction is done by Anuprash Das.

Rupam’s first Bengali album – ‘Kichu Gaan Kichu Bhasha’, was released in 2017. The singer, who is the front man of the Indian fusion band North East Breeze, has rendered in numerous Assamese films, including ‘Khobh’, ‘Anuradha’, ‘Mumtaz’, ‘Akash Chuboloi Mon’, etc.

‘Manush Khuje Berai’, the title song from his new album is a beautiful, moving song of giving, sharing and appreciation, the most powerful aspect being its pure sincerity. 

Prantik Deka

May 23, 2019

‘Champawati’ Staged on the Occassion of World Puppetry Day

It has been for years now that a traditional form of puppetry, commonly known as ‘Putola Nach’, has been providing an unique treat for people in the state, creating not just entertainment but also provoking thought. Thanks in large measure to the efforts of Binita Devi, Junior Fellowship Awardee from Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, puppetry has evolved, and experienced a renewed interest and growth in Assam. Devi, whose works have been presented at a range of theatres and festivals in the state and other parts of the country, is playing a key role in reviving people’s interest in this ancient art form. She has been imparting training in puppetry to students from all over the State in various workshops and training programmes. 

It is to her credit that the demand for her puppetry creations has been growing, even in foreign shores. Her creations have even found appreciation from none other than the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. It has always been her abiding interest and aim to promote and create awareness of this vanishing art form.

On the occasion of World Puppetry Day, Surajit Academy, under the sponsorship of Sangeet Natak Akademi, presented Rasaraj Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s ‘Champawati’ in the form of a puppet drama at the District Library in Guwahati, on March 21. The play, held in the memory of Ramesh Chandra Sarma, founder and chief assistant teacher of Gauhati University Adarsha High Secondary School, was written by Simanta Sarma and directed by Binita Devi.

The music of the play, which involved shadow and stick puppets, was scored by Abhijit Barman. A song in the play – ‘Hur hur bota charai..’, was beautifully sung by Adishna Rajbongshi. The various voices in the play were rendered by Binita Devi, Adishna Rajbongshi, Swapan Das, Gitima Das and Simanta Sarma. The puppets were manipulated by Hardik Sarma, Anita Devi, Simanta Sarma, Binita Devi, Hridayjyoti Das, Dhrubajyoti Kalita, Vivek Das, Anita Devi, Hemen Senapati and Gitima Das.

The cultural evening was inaugurated by Dr Amalendu Chakrabarty, Head of the Department of Bengali, Gauhati University, and graced by Manoj Baruah, Vice Chairman, Assam State Agriculture Marketing Board and filmmaker Sambhu Gupta as the guests of honour. On the occasion, a play - ‘Putola Nachar Kahini’, written and directed by Sambhu Gupta, and participated by the members of Surojit Academy, was also presented. The roles were enacted by Swapan Das, Binita Devi, Hemen Senapati, Hardik Sarma, Dhrubajyoti Kalita, Apolok Sarma and Hridayjyoti Das. The play’s music was scored by Sarat Kalita and lighting was executed by Kanu.

Prantik Deka

May 20, 2019

Roopa Barua’s ‘Daughters of the Polo God’ Won Best Documentary at NYIFF

Roopa Barua’s ‘Daughters of the Polo God’ won the Best Documentary Award in the recently held 19th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF). The 33-minute short is a beautifully shot and heart-warming narration of young Manipuri women in the state’s polo sport, who overcame adversities to gallop ahead, along with the plight of the ponies due to ecological disruptions.

The shimmering emerald state of Manipur, India, is considered the birthplace of modern polo - often thought of as a game of the rich, generally dominated by men, who have played this game here for centuries. However, a quiet revolution is taking place at the very place where it all started.

A young polo sisterhood is developing in Manipur that ploughs on despite adversity and political turmoil. These fiercely determined women are intensely connected to their sacred Manipuri pony and play an international tournament every year, competing with the world's best. These Manipuri women from humble backgrounds are not only shattering stereotypes that polo is a game for men, but also that it is the privilege of the rich. Today, the State has about two dozen women professional polo players representing two-thirds of all women polo players in India.

But with shrinking grazing land, the encroachment of wetlands and smuggling across the border where they being used as beasts of burden, the ponies are under severe threat, with their numbers estimated to be fewer than 500 today.

Lately though, there has been a remarkable re-awakening of interest in modern polo in Manipur, which also houses the oldest living polo ground in the world, and ever-increasing awareness for saving a rare breed, which has reaped benefits.

Roopa Barua’s film is not only a tribute to the polo players and the modern Manipuri women but also a campaign to save the iconic Manipuri pony.

An unwavering fan of the cinematic medium, Roopa Barua seeks to create nuanced cinema that goes beyond geography and human boundaries. She has also won multiple awards in 2015 for her documentary ‘Riders of the Mist’ which dealt with the hundred-year-old bareback racing tradition in Assam, with semi-feral ponies. She is also a frequent contributor to the movie blog - ‘A Potpourri of Vestiges’. She covered the Cannes Film Festival 2015 for films in both the Palme D’Or and the Un Certain Regard categories for this blog. The filmmaker has a Certificate in Film Production from New York Film Academy and has also taken film criticism courses at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to her career as a filmmaker, Roopa Barua was a banker with Morgan Stanley in Boston and San Francisco. She has a degree in Economics and Finance from Boston University.

The New York Indian Film Festival also saw ‘Sir’, directed by Rohena Gera, winning the top honour, Ritesh Batra winning the Best Director prize for his film ‘Photograph’, Adinath Kothare winning the Best Actor Award for ‘Paani’ and Tillotama Shome receiving the Best Actress Award for ‘Sir’.

It may be mentioned that four films by Assamese filmmakers - ‘Bulbul Can Sing’ by Rima Das, ‘Bhoga Khidikee’ by Jahnu Barua, ‘Aamis’ by Bhaskar Hazarika and ‘Daughters of the Polo God’, were screened at the NYIFF.

Prantik Deka

May 18, 2019

Assamese Dancers Shine at Bangkok, Thailand

The Hindustan Art and Music Society, in association with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Association, Thailand, and ICCR, organised a dance competition titled Bharat Sanskriti Yatra 2019 at Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok, Thailand, recently. The programme was held to commemorate the 126th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s famous Chicago lecture. A group of young dancers from Assam bagged many awards in the competition.

Krishtina Pujari
, a disciple of Sattriya exponent Pratibha Sharma, received the first position in the senior category of the classical event. Under the junior category, Meghna Das won the first prize in Sattriya, the second prize in modern dance, and the third prize in folk dance, respectively. 

While Jotishmita bagged the first prize in modern dance and the second prize in folk dance in the sub-junior category, Varnni Baruah, Ujjaini Saikia and the entire Sattriya troupe also won prizes in different categories.    

Prantik Deka

May 17, 2019

‘The Man Who 'Speaks' Nature’ Selected to Film Fest in Hungary

‘The Man Who 'Speaks' Nature’ - a film by Dhritiman Kakati and Raktim Hazarika, along with Prabal Bora as the production head, has been invited to be a part of the International Nature Film Festival Gödöllő, Hungary.

The Man Who ‘Speaks’ Nature is a short documentary film providing a glimpse into the life and work of Manoj Gogoi, a conservationist based in Kaziranga, who has dedicated his life towards the rescue and rehabilitation of snakes and birds in particular. The documentary attempts to seek the reasons behind his plunge into conservation work and exhibits a peek into the daily work schedule of Gogoi that comes with being a self-styled naturalist known to have rescued and rehabilitated over 4000 species of flora and fauna.

As Gogoi dwells on the reasons that motivated his work and how it has affected his personal life in the documentary, the film is an effort, therefore, towards showcasing, delicately, the elaborate view of the intersection of the personal and the professional space of the determined naturalist.

It has been a mission of the International Nature Film Festival to raise the awareness of the public regarding the protection and conservation of biological diversity, natural resources, values and beauties of the world with a special emphasis on Europe and the Carpathian Basin through the display of films connected to the topic. The festival brings a good opportunity for filmmakers, professionals and the public to meet and initiate conversation on these important issues through different meetings and conferences within the framework of the event and to enjoy nature films at the same time. The festival will host its 5th edition this year from May 24 to 26, and the awards will be announced on May 25.

Last year, nearly 1,500 films and thousands of guests visited the festival from 104 countries.

Prantik Deka

May 16, 2019

kababur Pratyabartan’ Screened at Guwahati Press Club

Paying tributes to Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore on his 158th birth anniversary, ‘Khokababur Pratyabartan’, the feature film based on his fabulous story with the same title, was screened at the Guwahati Press Club recently. Produced under the banner of Agradoot Chitra in 1960, the Bengali movie has music by Hemanta Kumar Mukherjee and its casts include Uttam Kumar, Tulsi Chakraborty, Sumita Sanyal, Asit Baran, Jahar Ganguly, Sobha Sen, Sisir Batabyal, Dipti Ray, etc. 

As part of a wider initiative to help member-journalists add value to their professional experience, Guwahati Press Club will screen Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror-thriller ‘The Birds’ next week.

The 1963 American movie focuses on a series of sudden, unexplained violent bird attacks on the people of Bodega Bay, California, over the course of a few days. The movie has cinematography by Robert Burks and the casts include  Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartwright, etc.

Prantik Deka

Short Film ‘Protyush' Wins Award at Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2019

Assamese short film ‘Protyush’ (Ushering a Crack of Dawn) was awarded with the ‘Special Festival Mention’ at the 9th edition of Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2019, held in Delhi, on April 30. 

The film, directed by Arindam Barooah, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Rita Bhuyan Barooah, is an emotive tale, revolving around a woman struggling against poverty and her fight to raise her two school-going children. Problems of the poverty stricken family aggravates when the sole bread earner of the family, her husband, meets an untimely death leaving the woman behind with two young children at her care. She has been left with only two options – either to succumb to her miseries or to employ her children as child labourers to get over their poor economic conditions, or take the challenging course that outrightly rejects the societal norms of rural India.

The film stars Jahnobi Gogoi, Kironmoyee Borah, Rishav Ritam Gogoi, Manash Protim Chetia, Anisha Dutta, Anupam Dutta, Nayan Jyoti Deka, Jyoti Dutta and Karabi Dutta.

The cinematography for the film has been done by Rishika Baruah, Bhaskar Jyoti Dutta and Prabhat Das and the background score has been provided by Kukil Pratim Saikia and Gaurav Rabha.

Earlier, the short film had bagged several awards such as ‘Best Short Film,’ ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Editor’ at the Borluit Short Film Festival 2019 in Jorhat. In addition to this, the film was screened at Filmgatha 2019 in Guwahati and it has recently earned an invitation for screening at Cinema Utsav 2019 in Dhemaji.

Prantik Deka

May 15, 2019

‘Amrapali Repertory’ Wins Accolades in Doha

A 14-member artiste troupe ‘Amrapali Repertory’ of Assam, under the leadership of the charismatic dance duo and choreographers Rudro Jayanta Bhagawati and Pranaame Bhagawati, performed at the Festival of India at Doha (Qatar) recently. 

Starting from the month of February, 2019, the valedictory function of the festival, sponsored and organised by the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, in association with the High Commission of India, Doha, Qatar, was held in the last week of April. The troupe, which was also the largest performing troupe from India and the first ever from North-East India, presented an exquisite rendition of folklores and dances of North-East India on April 25, in the auditorium of DPS-Modern Indian School, Al Wakra, Doha, and on April 26 at Al Khor Community, Al Khor, Doha. 

Shankh Naad  is a musical welcome to the performance rendition with the Khol (drum) and Taal (cymbals) traditionally known as Gayan Bayan of Assam, followed by the Bhortaal Nritya (dance performed with the cymbals) of Assam.

Nritya Darpan is an effort to put together some of the Indian classical dances onto a common platform. The varied classical forms presented are Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Sattriya and Manipuri dances.  Geet Bahaar songs bring peace and happiness and with different phases of time, a varied flavour generated with the mood of songs. 

Geet Bahaar is a perfect blend of traditional songs (Tokari Geet) of Assam.

Jhumur is the folk dance tradition of the tea garden community in Assam. The performers hold hands and tap their feet together in a beautiful melodious performance. Albela Sajan is an abhinaya-(expression) based composition, exhibiting welcoming  gestures together with expressions of joy and ecstasy through dance. 

Purvayu is a presentation consisting of folk songs and colorful folk dances of Assam. The music flows like a river whilst changing its course from one folk tradition to another, like Goalporia dance.

The ‘Amrapali Repertory’, lead and choreographed by Pranaame Bhagawati, and coordinated and directed by Rudro Jayanta Bhagawati, comprises of Wamiel P. Kashyap, Minakshi Baruah Kashyap, Sukanya Deka, Elizi Ojah, Bandana Barman, Shradhanjali Sharma, Samragyee Kashyap, Mandeep Mahanta, Nabajit Saikia, Dilip Hira, Taranga Kashyap and Kaman Gogoi. 

It’s worth mentioning that the renowned dance duo - Rudro Jayanta Bhagawati and Pranaame Bhagawati, who are empaneled artistes of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, have used dance as a tool for creating artistic expression, as well as promoting cultural legacy and awareness. They have participated in a number of global events and festivals, held in countries such as Germany, Dubai, UK, USA, Guyana, Tanzania, Maldives, etc, where the duo has enthralled the audiences with their Kathak and creative dance recitals in a number of extravagant productions.

Prantik Deka